Living in Lake Tahoe, we are blessed with unlimited activities year round, but we are also blessed to be within an hour’s drive to some truly great areas for fun day excursions “off the hill”. If you’re looking for some memorable adventures to add to your Tahoe vacation experience, be sure to check out some of the South Lake Tahoe neighboring areas!
Famed for its silver mining during the great 19th century mining boom, and “rough and tumble” reputation during the Old West days, go take a “Step back in time” in Virginia City! Tucked up in the mountains to the east of Carson City and Reno, you will find the city to be like an undisturbed time capsule straight from the 1800’s, as most of the buildings still remain, and for the most part, remained untouched. The kids will love the old-fashioned candy shop, Old West show, mine tours, and rock shops (with rocks for purchase like fool’s gold, peacock rock, and more). For the adults, belly up to the bar in one of the town’s many saloons like the Bucket of Blood, The Delta Saloon, the haunted Old Washoe Club, or, if you can find it, the Silver Dollar Saloon. Virginia City also hosts many annual events throughout the year that people travel from far and wide to attend. Some of the more notable events: the Camel Races, Outhouse Races (yes, outhouses!), parade of motorcycles during Reno’s Street Vibrations, and even the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry. Weekends are a great time to visit as there is typically live music (mainly in the Bucket of Blood Saloon), and many of the locals dress up in period costume… complete with 6-shooters on the hip. For some added adventure, instead of driving the full distance to Virginia City from South Lake Tahoe, make a stop at the Railroad Museum in Carson City and take the exhilarating and scenic trip on an old-fashioned steam engine on the V&T Railroad out to Virginia City!
Nestled in the Sierra Foothills, just one hour west from South Lake Tahoe, you will find Apple Hill. Famed for its apple orchards, stunning autumn foliage, and beautiful rolling hills covered in trees, Apple Hill has year round activities for the whole family. You will find numerous outdoor markets selling a unique variety of local goods like fudge, varieties of pies, fresh produce, sauces, crafts, and apple everything, of course (candy apples, cider, butters, vinegars, juices, and much more)! And did I mention pies?? In addition to the expansive markets, Apple Hill is also full of wineries and breweries, all offering tastings. And you will find plenty of exciting activities for the little ones: pumpkin patches (during the autumn months), petting zoos, ponds, apple picking, and more. The scenic drive along the famous Highway 50 with the dramatic mountain landscape, river that winds along the highway, and numerous mountain cabins, make the hour drive from South Lake Tahoe another memorable part of your day excursion. Note: many of the wineries, markets, and restaurants are only open a few days per week, so be sure to check ahead to see what will be open when you plan to visit.
With the newly constructed freeway bypassing Carson City, the drive to Reno is now only an hour from South Lake Tahoe. Reno has become a growing metropolis, offering many activities and events. If you have the shopping bug, as you come into Reno from Tahoe, you will come upon the Summit Mall, which is a large outdoor mall with many mainstream stores like Dillard’s, Williams Sonoma, and Apple. Moving further into Reno, there are many restaurants offering numerous types of cuisines from all over the world. Downtown, there is a cluster of large casinos like the Silver Legacy, El Dorado, and Circus Circus (where the kids will love the exciting midway full of games and acrobatic acts!). Like Virginia City, Reno hosts a number of notable annual events like Hot August Nights (which brings people and their classic cars from all over the country), the Best in the West Reno Rib Cook-Off at the Nugget, and Street Vibrations that fills the city with the rumble of motorcycles.
Famed for being Nevada’s oldest settlement, Genoa is just a short and scenic 20-minute drive down State Route 207 (also known as Kingsbury Grade). Located in the heart of this historic town, you will find the Genoa Bar, Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor, where not much has changed since the 1860’s when it was built. Along with shops and restaurants, this town is also home to David Walley’s Resort & Hot Springs. Open year round, Walley’s is a great place to unwind in the soothing warm waters after a long day on the slopes or a day on the lake, or spend an evening dining in their restaurant.
I hope this list is helpful in creating a memorable vacation full of adventures while renting your South Lake Tahoe vacation home! What are some of your favorite neighboring Tahoe areas you like to visit? I would love to hear about your experiences!